Grading the game: Packers

The Vikings played decently in many facets of the game, but mistakes in the passing game – namely three interceptions on offense and explosive plays surrendered on defense – along with some questionable sideline decisions, contributed to the loss.

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus — Brett Favre was brilliant in two victories over his former team last season, throwing for seven touchdowns and no interceptions. That magic did not carry over to 2010. Favre passed for 212 yards, threw one touchdown pass and was intercepted three times (all in the second half) of the Vikings' loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field. Favre, who posted a 50.4 passer rating, said he reinjured his surgically repaired left ankle on a third-quarter play in which he threw a ball that was intercepted by A.J. Hawk. Favre's second interception, this one by linebacker Desmond Bishop, was returned for 32 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Favre's three picks led to 14 points for Green Bay. Percy Harvin was the Vikings' leading receiver with five catches for 65 yards, but the team continued to struggle to get Randy Moss involved. Moss was targeted seven times but had only three catches for 30 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Adrian Peterson tied his season high with 28 carries and rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown. It was the third game this season in which Peterson has rushed for more than 100 yards. The Vikings finished with 196 yards rushing on 36 attempts (5.4 average), both season highs. Percy Harvin continued to excel in limited work out of the backfield, gaining 41 yards on three carries with a 17-yard touchdown. The return of center John Sullivan from injury provided some stability to the offensive line and it appeared that might have helped the run game.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus — Rookie Chris Cook returned from a knee injury to play in the nickel defense, but that proved to be a mistake. Cook did not look ready to be back on the field and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went right at him. Rodgers threw for 227 of his 295 yards in the first half and ended up with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Vikings eventually replaced Cook with veteran Frank Walker, who was signed this month to provide depth at cornerback after Cedric Griffin was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Lito Sheppard, who played in the nickel the previous week against Dallas, missed the game because of a hand injury. Defensive end Jared Allen and free safety Madieu Williams had the Vikings' interceptions, but the Allen pick came on a horribly thrown screen pass by Rodgers in the first quarter that was his first-ever interception in the red zone. The 295 passing yards by Rodgers was the most against the Vikings this season.

RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Packers don't have much of a run game without Ryan Grant and thus it should come as no surprise the Vikings defense had little problem slowing Green Bay in this area. Brandon Jackson ran for 58 yards on 13 attempts and Green Bay put up only 84 yards on 23 carries, a 3.7-yard-per-carry average. Jackson's longest carry went for 14 yards and Rodgers was actually the team's second-leading rusher (14 yards on three carries). As usual, starting defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams anchored things in this facet of the defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Percy Harvin gave the Vikings a huge boost with a 48-yard kickoff return to the Green Bay 44 in the first quarter after Minnesota had fallen behind. The Vikings had failed to score on their first two offensive possessions for the sixth game in a row, but after Harvin provided the spark he also capped the ensuing drive by taking a handoff 17 yards for a touchdown. Harvin averaged 27 yards on three kickoff returns. Kicker Ryan Longwell made his only field-goal attempt, a 28-yarder, in the second quarter, and Chris Kluwe averaged 50 yards gross and 45 yards net on two punts.

COACHING: C-minus — Brad Childress made a couple of decisions that left him open to criticism. The first came in the second quarter when he elected not to challenge a 9-yard touchdown catch by Andrew Quarless, despite the fact it appeared the tight end might have lost the ball as he came down while being covered by two Vikings defenders. The Packers later challenged a touchdown catch by Visanthe Shiancoe and got it overturned. The second curious move occurred late in the first half when the Vikings began a drive with all three of their timeouts. The Vikings used their first timeout after Peterson gained 14 yards on his first two carries to put the ball at the Minnesota 34-yard line. Favre then looked deep for Moss and actually connected on a 49-yard pass to the Packers 17 that would have at least put the Vikings in field-goal position. However, Moss was called for offensive pass interference and the Vikings had Peterson run another play with 35 seconds left before going into the locker room. It was clear many on the Vikings sideline felt they should have taken at least one more shot downfield for Moss, but Childress said he was concerned about having to punt and possibly having it blocked.


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